Acting Deputy Chief Information Officer, Information Enterprise, DOD
U.S. Department of Defense
United States

Ms. Lily Zeleke is the acting Deputy CIO (DCIO) for the Information Enterprise (IE). In this role, she provides oversight, policy guidance, and digital expertise for DoD enterprise infrastructure initiatives driving toward the objectives of digital modernization. She leads Department-wide execution of strategic guidance aimed at achieving an operationally effective and secure Information Enterprise in a cost-efficient manner. Areas of priority include network optimization, cloud adoption, software modernization, and IT reform. She recently served as the Principal Director (PD) for the DCIO IE. Prior to these roles, Ms. Zeleke served as the Acting PD for the DCIO for Resources & Analysis (DCIO RA) as well as the Director of Resources, Program, and Budget. She was responsible for the management of DoD CIO’s processes for Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution to include management of DoD CIO’s operating budget; the collection and submission of the DoD IT/Cyberspace Activities Budget to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress; execution of the DoD Budget Certification process; and DoD CIO’s participation in the Department’s Program Budget Review.

From 2009 to 2018, Ms. Zeleke served as the Department’s radiofrequency spectrum policy lead for all matters related to spectrum use, reallocation, and auction. In this capacity, she led the strategic development of the Department’s mobile broadband and domestic regulatory, policy, and legislative initiatives for the DCIO for Command, Control, and Communications (DCIO C3). She functioned as the liaison between DoD and spectrum stakeholders across the Department, national spectrum regulators, White House/Executive Branch agencies, and Congress, and spearheaded a wide range of complex initiatives to evolve traditional spectrum policies and practices to be more responsive to increased demand. She partnered with these stakeholders to forge an innovative solution that resulted in an amicable commercial auction decision of the highly sought 1755-1780 MHz band, expanding commercial Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-3) while preserving military capabilities. The auction brought in $44 billion to the U.S. Treasury and $3.1 billion for DoD. She led a coalition that developed a first-of-its-kind DoD spectrum efficiency principles policy memo, which became the cornerstone of the DoD 2020 Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy.

Prior to joining DoD CIO, Ms. Zeleke served as the Deputy Technical Director and International Division Chief at the Air Force Frequency Management Agency where she advised on all matters concerning international telecommunications policy for spectrum use, and led Air Force participation in the International Telecommunications Union World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), a global summit that reviews the international treaty governing the use of radiofrequency spectrum. Previously, she served as advisor to the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Defense Spectrum Organization on international spectrum regulatory policy, as well as a RF product support engineer at Allied Signal Inc.

Ms. Zeleke holds a M.S. in Systems Engineering from George Mason University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas. She is a Senior Executive Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and has been recognized on numerous occasions for her work including a National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation for her significant contribution to the success of the AWS-3 auction.